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New York Blood Center Abandons 66 Chimps, Leaving Them To Die of Starvation

May 28, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

An institution that conducted experiments on approximately 500 hundred chimpanzees and made a commitment to provide the survivors with lifelong care has abandoned the ones who are still alive, leaving them to die of starvation. The New York Blood Center (NYBC), which tested treatments and vaccines on the great apes at a medical research center in Liberia from 1974 to 2005, has terminated its $30,000/month funding to feed and care for the chimps, who are living on secluded islands near the country’s capital, Monrovia.

Liberians care for chimps who were relocated to islands near Monrovia, Liberia, when the research program ended in 2005.

The chimpanzees raised at the NY Blood Center’s research facility are dependent on human caregivers for sustenance (all photos: screenshots The Real Planet of the Apes)

NYBC, which has reportedly earned over $500 million in royalties for discoveries made at the chimp research center, has neither denied the allegations nor responded to repeated inquiries from advocacy groups around the world.

Chimpanzee Research Center in Liberia

The NY Blood Center experimented on chimpanzees at the Liberia Biomedical Research Institute from 1974 – 2006.

According to Dr. Fatorma Borlay, the current head of the facility where the experiments were conducted, the New York Blood Center “left [the chimps] to die of starvation.” Another advocate with local contacts says that the situation is “totally desperate,” as chimps could very well perish if the Blood Center doesn’t resume funding. As a stop gap measure, some of the chimps’ caretakers have, as volunteers, continued to travel to the islands to provide the chimps with limited amounts of food purchased with money donated by the Humane Society of the United States and other groups and individuals.

Workers feed former laboratory chimps living on secluded islands near Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

Workers feed former laboratory chimps living on secluded islands near Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

In 1974, the New York Blood Center launched its chimp research program on the grounds of the then defunct Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research. According to Betsy Brotman, who directed the program, Liberia was chosen because of the availability of the facility; the cooperation of the government; and the large number of chimps who could no longer be kept by locals as pets.


Caretaker and chimps at NY Blood Center’s research facility in Liberia

In 1984, Ms. Brotman acknowledged the obligation of the New York Blood Center to provide the chimps with a humane retirement: ”It’s our responsibility to try to pay them back by letting them live out their lives in their natural environment.” She repeated the assertion in The Real Planet of the Apes, a 2014 documentary film about her research and the islands on which the chimps were retired: “If you’re going to do work in chimpanzees, you should set up a system so that at the end of the research they have a place where they can . . .  live a nice chimp life to the best of whatever is available.”


A caretaker at the NY Blood Center’s research facility in Liberia

Under Ms. Brotman’s leadership, the New York Blood Center released the chimps onto six islands near Monrovia where they would be safe from human predators and where employees from the research facility who knew them could provide them with lifelong care. “That’s what we agreed upon doing, and we did it,” said Brotman in The Real Planet of the Apes.


The NY Blood Center broke its promise to provide lifelong care to the research chimps

Advocates, who speculate that the Blood Center used the distraction of the Ebola epidemic as an opportunity to discreetly extricate itself from its commitment, have staged two disruptions inside of the lobby of the organization’s headquarters.

UPDATE: The NY Times and Motherboard have picked up the story and provided more detailed information about the plight of the chimps and the decision by the NY Blood Center to abandon them. In addition, Jane Goodall sent an open letter to the NY Blood Center demanding that it reinstates the funding.


A former NY Blood Center lab chimp in Monrovia, Liberia

Your Turn

Please participate in the call to action and join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. jason bender says:

    Fuck those disgusting beasts. i hope they all die.

  2. Mike says:

    Hey the people there need to round up all the chimps and pick the most tender and start the grill up. Sixty six chimps can feed quite a bit of people. Im sure there are people starving as well as. They say you take a male chimp and burn all the hair off them take the metal rod and drive it through there ass and out there mouth jam as many cobs of corn in there mouth and any opening you can find pour open pit all over the chimp and get to grilling.

    1. Don Kenefick says:

      Not funny, nor is it a proper way to speak of these creatures at all. What they did was a service to humans. To repay them by casting your crude and (I will say this), cruel, and mean spirited remark is almost as bad as the betrayal of them.

    2. jason bender says:

      I agree 100%

  3. mike says:

    People wake up. There are more chimps there today then when they put them there in the 80s.
    Its time to let them die off or help the people out and let them eat them. Who really gives a puck about some infected chimps left over from the 80s. I say let the soldiers go over there and clear it out so everyone can eat good for a minute. They say the meat taste good and you can scramble the brains with some eggs and hot sauce and its really tasty. Look there eating it all over now there is even monkey meat here in the U.S. I have tasted it to be honest it was chewy but they say if you get meat from the younger chimps its more tender. There is all the land those chimps are using that can be used for better things. All this talking has made me hungry. Good luck

    1. Marcus says:

      Wow. I wondered if your reply warranted a response, class act that you are (low class that is). You have so much in common with these creatures. You seem hungry or you like to talk about food quite a bit. They’re hungry. Actually, I read that there are places in Africa where the meat is human, and sold on the street. So why not donate yourself to feed those poor hungry people. Leave the innocent chimps, most of whom have actually done something useful for mankind, alone.

    2. Tonie says:

      Wow Mike! U really are stupid in the worst kind of way aren’t U? Feed people with flesh from infected animals? I guess U wanna start a new epidemic in Africa huh? Where do U think HIV came from? Or Ebola? Apart from the lack of compassion from U, (which is appalling) U’r stupidity is mind boggling…

      1. Jason D Bender says:

        the hiv and ebola virus is easily destroyed by heat and by the acidic upper GI tract environment – the transmission vector was humans being bitten by infected primates, not by humans eating the infected beasts.

    3. Donna Zirkle says:

      Troll looking to stir up trouble. A waste of time

  4. Vincenzo Saulle says:

    Very sad. They first use these poor animals to find so called cures and than when it is not convenient for them any longer abandon them. Not for profit organization. Go donate blood at a hospital but not for this classless organization. Vincenzo Saulle ucc1-308

  5. Constance Grasso says:

    This Blood Bank needs to fulfill its promise and to take care of these chimpanzees.
    It is absolutely disgusting that you have so little regard in the welfare of these animals.
    It is a shame that it all boils down to the almighty dollar….
    What kind of an example is this setting…it is so pathetic and so disturbing.
    I am as a human being disgusted by this appalling negligence.
    Please reconsider your decisions and do the right thing.

  6. Laura Christine Sasse says:

    Please help them!!!! This is cruel and inhumane. They do not deserve this!!!

  7. David Mcmannamanan An says:

    It would be more humane to kill and eat them. I actually quite like monkey meat, I’m sure others do too. What is happening here is unjust, unfair, and cruel to us. I shall be writing a letter to the given address.

  8. Christina M Zaffiri says:


  9. Viktor Kratky says:

    Find and prosecute those who left them there!!

  10. Charles Currin says:

    Horrible… / Shameful…

  11. Hailey Mak says:

    Those human involved should be stoned to death, together with their family. They dont deserve to live and hurt more animals

  12. Jon Basilio says:

    Please help them. They did not deserve that kind of treatment. Such a cruelty…

  13. Jon Basilio says:

    Please help them.

  14. cathy says:

    Unbelievable cruelty, need stringing up.Can any animal charity or such like, step in
    and help?

  15. Gretchen Lieff says:

    Thanks Kim !!!!!

    I contacted the NY Blood Center at the number listed. They gave me another number that will get you to the switchboard that can connect you to Christopher Hillyer’s office / secretary. The number is (212) 570-3000. Please call!!!!!

    Christopher Hillyer:::::

    call 212 570-3000

  16. Lynn puckett says:

    Please add my name. This is very upsetting

  17. vehert says:

    Vraiment c’est une honte , après vous êtes enrichis sur le dos de ces pauvres bêtes , vous n’êtes même pas capable de prendre vos responsabilités , j’espère que dieu vous jugera pour toutes les souffrances que vous avez commis sur ces pauvres êtres sans défenses .
    Mon dieu , je hais les gens comme vous qui ne pensent qu’à leur profit et qui se foutent des êtres vivants .

  18. iva franks says:

    How in this day and age does this happen?

  19. Marc Ginchereau says:

    It’s appalling…perhaps you should all be taken from your families n caged…we’re is your humanity ? Millions upon millions reaped…and this is your ” FINAL SOLUTION “

  20. This is an appalling way to treat any animal, let alone animals which have been used for the benefit of human beings.This is their reward? Show your responsibility and compassion by doing the right thing by these animals.

  21. chelvamalar says:

    Why human now days become very rude & evil..

  22. rachael mcnamara says:

    Please help these poor little darlin´s!

  23. Veronica Ratcliffe-Speakman says:

    Why oh why would you even consider removing the funding for these primates when you have treated them in such an appalling way so far? This is disgusting and should be reinstated immediately!
    To leave these poor animals to die of hunger is just not acceptable and you should not even entertain such a thought!

  24. ramona pasierb says:

    I am not understanding how anyone can turn their backs on any animal, especially ones that had no voice or control over their future. So shameful…so disappointed in these people who made this decision to abandon these animals, animal who helped provide research money at the expense of a normal chimpanzee life…smh with disgust

  25. stop these people make them be responsable

  26. Karen Baumann says:

    This is SO WRONG!

  27. GRACIELA says:


  28. Kiran Prasad says:

    Poor chimps. Are their lives meant for use and throw only?

  29. Juanita de Dios says:


  30. Jimmy pang says:

    this is extreme cruelty to animals , pls fulfill your obligations to care for them for life, where you have already taken their freedom for so long

  31. Jimmy pang says:

    this is extreme cruelty to animals , pls fulfill your obligations to care for them for life, where you have already taken their freedom for so long

  32. Carolyn George says:

    I have tried to reach this place. 212.570.3000 – mailbox is full. (surprise), so I left a message at something I pushed. There is also an email fill in form to send questions, which I did.
    1.800. 933.blood – answered by a live operator! She said they have been inundated. Really? However, she knows nothing. So I left my name and number and she said I would receive a call back. Seriously?
    1.800.688.0900 – I was able to leave my name and number with a promise of a call back.
    EVERYONE – CALL THESE PLACES. WE NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH. The fact that no statement has been made is damning. Time is crucial.

  33. jane halloran says:

    can anyone set up a petition so we can use this to voice our issues and gain support

  34. sara says:

    peta does nothing to help animals,, peta kills 95% of the animals they take in,,, do alittle homework on peta and you will see the numbers they kill is about 95% and what they save and help is about 5%,,, the people who have abandoned these chimps will hopefully get some major karma,, makes you wonder if they would throw their spouses and children away like they did these poor chimps

  35. libby keirl says:

    Shame the research wasn’t about human kindness. Sickened by their actions… just shows it’s not the uneducated that are abusers!!!!

  36. pamela frost says:

    Feed these poor chimps you made a commitment now follow it through. how can you be so heartless.

  37. Maria welsh says:

    What goes around comes around

  38. Debbie Cameron says:

    I did call, and was told someone would return my call. I am going to contact PETA and The International primate protection League in Sommerfield, SC

  39. charlene geffen says:

    Can someone script what to say? That would make it easier for folks who may be uncomfortable calling.

    1. Elsa Silva says:

      This is what I wrote on their page (, I’m portuguese so I’m not very articulate, you can write a better message, but here it is:

      Dear Mr. Christopher Hillyer,
      I’ve learned that New York Blood Center abandoned several chimpanzees, leaving them to die of starvation.
      You should be ashamed and accountable for that.
      Please fulfill your obligation to provide lifelong care to the chimpanzees used in your medical experiments.
      I hope you’ll do the right thing.

  40. Kim Siegel says:

    I contacted the NY Blood Center at the number listed. They gave me another number that will get you to the switchboard that can connect you to Christopher Hillyer’s office / secretary. The number is (212) 570-3000. Please call!!!!!

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